Gujarat State

Introduction :

Gujarat is the westernmost state in India and its capital is Gandhinagar. Its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati speaking people of India. The state encompasses major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization such as Lothal and Dholavira. Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India throughout the history of India. It is home to major ports in India's ancient and modern history, leading it to become one of the main trade and commerce center of India. Lothal, one of the world's first ports, is located in Gujarat. Mohandas Gandhi, considered as India's "father of the nation," was a Gujarati who led the Indian Independence Movement against the British rule. Even today, Gujarat has one of the fastest growing economies in India.

History :

Modern-day Gujarat is derived from Gurjaratra that is the land protected or ruled by the Gurjars, or from Gurjar-rashtra, the Gujjar nation. The origins of the Gujjars are uncertain. The Gujjar clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India. Some scholars, such as V. A. Smith, believed that the Gujjars were foreign immigrants, possibly a branch of Hephthalites ("White Huns"), however others, such as K.M.Munshi, stated them as Indian. The name of the tribe was Sanskritized to "Gurjara" .

Historically, the present-day state of Gujarat has been one of the main centers of the Indus Valley Civilization. It contains major ancient metropolitan cities from the Indus Valley such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. The ancient city of Lothal is the site of the India's first port. Also, Dholavira, the ancient city, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The most recent discovery was Gola Dhoro. All together, about 50 Indus Valley settlement ruins were discovered in Gujarat.

The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by their commercial activities. There is a clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.

There was a succession of Hindu kingdoms including the era of the Gupta dynasty and Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. Afterwards the region was ruled by the Maitrakas and then the? Solankis. The 11th century history of Gujarat saw the emergence of the Muslims in the political arena of the state. The first Muslim conqueror was Mahmud of Ghazna whose conquest of Somnath effectively ended the rule of the Solankis.

From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur's sacking of Delhi at the end of the fourteenth century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat's Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ahmed Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), restructured Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat's most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. The port of Surat become the prominent and main port of India during Mughal rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas sacked eastern and central Gujarat in the eighteenth century; Western Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) were divided among numerous local rulers.

Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu as well as Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The British East India Company established a factory in Surat in 1614, which formed their first base in India, but it was eclipsed by Bombay after the British acquired it from Portugal in 1668. The Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule. Gujarat was placed under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into hundreds of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.

Leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Morarji Desai, K.M. Munshi, Narhari Parikh, Mahadev Desai, Mohanlal Pandya, Bhulabhai Desai and Ravi Shankar Vyas all hailed from Gujarat. As well, Mohammed Ali Jinnah's, Pakistan's first Governor-General, father was from an area which later became Gujarat. Gujarat was also the site of some of the most popular revolts, including the Satyagrahas in Kheda, Bardoli, Borsad and the Salt Satyagraha.

After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely states of Gujarat into three larger units; Saurashtra, which included the former princely states on the Kathiawad peninsula, Kutch, and Bombay state, which included the former British districts of Bombay Presidency together with most of Baroda state and the other former princely states of eastern Gujarat. In 1956, Bombay state was enlarged to include Kutch, Saurashtra, and parts of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh in central India. The new state had a mostly Gujarati-speaking north and a Marathi-speaking south. Agitation by both Gujarati and Marathi nationalists for their own states led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines; on 1 May 1960, it became the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad; the capital was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.

Geography :

Gujarat borders with Pakistan to the north-west, bounded by the Arabian Sea to the southwest, the state of Rajasthan to the northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and by Maharashtra, Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south. Historically, the North was known as Anarta, the Kathiawad peninsula, "Saurastra", and the South as "Lata". Gujarat was also known as Pratichya and Varuna. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's western coast. The capital, Gandhinagar is a planned city. Gujarat has an area of 75,686 sq mi (196,077 kmē).

The population of the Gujarat State was 50,671,017 as per the 2001 census data. The density of population is 258 persons per kmē, a lower density compared to other states of the country.

Its official and primary language is Gujarati. About 89.1% of the population of Gujarat are Hindu. Muslims account for 9.1%, Jain 1.0% and Sikh 0.1% of the population. Amongst Hindus, the deity of Krishna is famously worshiped in His form of Shrinathji throughout Gujarat.

71% of Hindus in Gujarat speak Gujarati while the other 29% speak Hindi. Almost 88% of the Muslims speak Gujarati while the other 12% speak Urdu. Almost all of the Jains speak Gujarati (a few speak Marwari as well). Parsi Zoroastrians also speak Gujarati as their native language. Marathi is spoken by a large number of people in Vadodara and Surat.

Besides Gujarati, the Kutchi language is widely spoken in the Kutch District.

Government And Politics :

Gujarat is governed by a Legislative Assembly of 182 members. Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) are elected on the basis of adult suffrage from one of 182 constituencies, of which 13 are reserved for scheduled castes and 26 for scheduled tribes. The term of office for a member of the Legislative Assembly is five years. The Legislative Assembly elects a speaker who presides over the meetings of the legislature. A governor is appointed by the President of India, and is to address the state legislature after every general election and the commencement of each year's first session of the Legislative Assembly. The leader of the majority party or coalition in the legislature (Chief Minister) or his or her designee acts as the Leader of the Legislative Assembly. The administration of the state is led by the Chief Minister.After gaining independence in 1947, the Indian National Congress party (INC) ruled the Bombay state (which included present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra).

Congress continued to govern Gujarat after the state's creation in 1960. During and after India's State of Emergency of 1975–1977, public support for the Congress Party eroded, but it continued to hold government until 1995. In the 1995 Assembly elections, the Congress lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Keshubhai Patel came to power. His government lasted only two years. The fall of that government was provoked by a split in the BJP led by Shankersinh Vaghela, who has won most of the subsequent polls. In 2001, following the loss of two assembly seats in by-elections, Keshubhai Patel resigned and yielded power to Narendra Modi. The BJP retained a majority in the 2002 election, and Narendra Modi has since served as Chief Minister of the state. On 1 June 2007, Narendra Modi became the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat. On 23 December 2007, the BJP won the state elections in Gujarat and Narendra Modi became the chief minister for the third time in a row.